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June 19, 2010: I've launched a new version of this website as a Wordpress blog. This version won't be updated anymore.
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.
   
 

Blog reviews and site news

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On this page:

Cavalcade of Boys is back online
Pride High #5
every part of you is familiar to me
Aegean Tales
The Desert Peach: Afterdead 1.2
In the Blink of an Eye #1
The Love book

 

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Entries for October 2007:
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Saturday, October 27, 2007
Various news
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Cavalcade of Boys is back online



A panelAlmost four months ago, I'd announced the return of Tim Fish's Cavalcade of Boys, this time as a strip for the Bay Windows magazine. Well, you can read those strips online. There are 11 strips right now, with a combination of old and new characters, all drawn in a beautiful black and white. It feels good to meet Tim Fish's guys again!
EDIT: The page on the BW site is down, but I've been told it will soon be up again.


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Review update
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Pride High #5


Author(s): Tommy Roddy, Shaun Piela.


Cover by Greg NarvasaWell, Tommy Roddy and his artists are on a roll, and Pride High comes out more frequently than some supposedly monthly mainstream super-hero comics.
That issue might be my favorite, besides the first one. This time, Kid Mischief has learned names seemingly related to the death of Mindsweeper, his boyfriend, and he's more and more convinced that death wasn't an accident. Besides interesting scenes showing various characters talking about all of that (including adult heroes who know more than they say, and the teenage ones from the Pride High group, determined to help their friend find out the truth about the death of one of their own), we get to see the teenage group in real action, as they face a female mercenary shapeshifter linked to Mindsweeper's death, as well as other super-powered people pursuing her. While I'd found the balance between action and characters to be a bit off for me in the previous issues (again, it's only a question of taste), this one works very well in my opinion.Kid Mischief and his lab partner
A new art team replaces Brian Ponce, the co-creator of the series, with Shaun Piela on pencils and Lynx Delirium (who also writes and draws a back-up with his own characters) on inks and colors. They give us more cartoony characters, who look a bit younger, and action scenes which work very well. I'm not completely convinced by the use of a gray background for the night fight scene, since it looks a bit dull to me, but otherwise, the colors are distinct and bring energy to the art, which is already quite alive.
This fifth issue is a success, with engaging art and the advance of the storyline around Mindsweeper's mystery death.
You can find where to buy this comic on the official site.


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Sunday, October 21, 2007
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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every part of you is familiar to me

Category: lesbian, slice-of-life.
Author(s): Kris Dresen.
Year of publication: 2007.


Every part of you is familiar to me is a collection of Kris Dresen's silent short comics and illustrations. A few years ago, I'd already written how much I liked her work, in my review of her Max & Lily strips; and here, she fully displays her interest in combining everyday stories and unusual storytelling.a page
With stories from one-pagers to a 30-page tale, Dresen presents the lives of women who love women, their meetings, their time together, with an obvious concern for realistic details and a use of nature, trees, leaves, etc. in her art which often takes on a metaphorical role. In fact, most of her strips have a poetic aspect which must not be underestimated, whether from their rythm or from the sparse story titles, which are the only words in this book save for the illustrations titles.
The pièce de résistance is undoubtedly Encounter Her, the 30-page novelette which ends this collection. It follows two women, and their dance around each other, from the first chance meeting to the beginning of something deeper, with lots of false starts and (temporarily) dashed hopes. It's moving, honest, and is yet another proof that Kris Dresen is a great storyteller.
Even though some of this material is available on the author's site, this beautifully printed (print-on-demand really has come of age!) 100-page book is not to be missed, and hopefully will be followed by more of the kind. Kris Dresen is currently working on Grace, a long graphic novel, and some shorter stories, all of which can be found at her website. You can purchase this book from the Lulu.com site.


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Saturday, October 20, 2007
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Aegean Tales

Category: erotica.
Author(s): Ian Hanks.
Year of publication: 2007.


Among gay erotic artists, a lot don't have much in print. Such is unfortunately the case with Ian Hanks, an artist who often works as an illustrator for HandJobs Magazine, a magazine focusing on gay porn age-gap stories. A few months ago, Handjobs published Aegean Tales, a pdf collection of short stories by Hanks, all set in Ancient Greece. For me, that's not as good as a print book, but it's already something.
I've long admired Hanks's work: he seems more in synch with classical European comics artists than American ones, and brings an aesthetic that would be at home with less explicit stories. I'd even say he's a worthy heir to Oliver Frey, an artist who left erotic art long ago, and who in my opinion was among the best artists I've known, erotic or not.A crowd scene
As you can see in the samples I'm showing you here (all come from the artist's site), his art is very dense, but also very clear, full of details but never cluttered. He's obviously done his best to recreate a believable environment, be it for clothes, architecture or any other visual aspect of the stories (for example with the friezes he draws on the title pages of the stories, in a style reminiscent of the red-figure Greek art). He also draws varied body types, from the slender, hairless twink to the meatier, hairy man. In fact, all those Aegean tales show (sexual) relationships with an age gap, straddling a line between historical realism and sexual fantasy. Which is fun.
As for the plots of the stories, they're rather thin: A post-coital discussiona boy goes to a man to become his ward--with benefits; a young man challenges an older man--but who's falling for whom?; two young men find a discussion of philosophy too boring and decide to spice it up, leading to a very large orgy; a young man is sent to the house of a champion to get him to come to his master's feast--and he's got some good arguments; a young slave in a pillaged city finds salvation thanks to an older slave...
As you can see, it's more about opportunities to show hot sex than anything else, which makes it an unapologetic porn comics collection. For me, what makes Hanks's comics unique is his depiction of the male human body: those men, younger or older, don't look like mainstream porn models all over-muscled, but rather like (admittedly very) cute guys. Oh, and the cocks aren't of the Tom of Finland size. That's another thing I like, but as I've often written here, I know other readers don't share my opinion on this matter.
I haven't decided whether the settings of the stories (in the paleastra, in a city being pillaged, etc.) are more than backgrounds to the sex scenes. In fact, I'd really like Ian Hanks to write longer stories, with fleshed-out characters and developping themes. I find his visual work as hot as it is exquisitely drawn, though. No question about that.
This pdf book can be bought online from the publisher's site.


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Saturday, October 06, 2007
Review update
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The Desert Peach: Afterdead 1.2


Author(s): Donna Barr.


coverIn this second 64-page collection of the Afterdead series, the Peach is still afterdead, and Pfirsich's new world keeps on making weird sense. Donna Barr's fictional gay brother of the WWII Desert Fox, back in a "real" world thousands of years after his first death, mixes with characters formerly from the author's other series, especially Stinz, the half-horse who's now been chosen for the breeding farms of his country (which is the right way of doing things in this army-run reality, where blood lines are extremely important). Stinz is absolutely terrified, and asks for Pfirsich's presence, leading to a situation where the Peach finally learns why "Nobody cares if you're gay", as it has been repeatedly pointed out to him since his arrival in the Afterdead world.
Most of the book follows our characters dealing more or less well with the sequence of operations which a "stallion"--as are called people (men or, now, half-horses) who are chosen for this honor--must follow to, uh, give for his country. And no, Stinz isn't expected to have sex with female half-horses. It's all done very scientifically...
Pfirsich enjoys being afterdeadTwo more stories complete this book: one showcasing the current Pope--he's rather different from the bigot we know--facing the breeding farm director to hilarious results, and another one of a young man becoming a kind of bride after being taken prisonner by a foreign tribe. I found the last one to be very disturbing, and I mean that as a compliment.
While the reader will get a lot of laughs out of all this, he'll also encounter very intelligent, no-holds-barred musings on gender roles, gay inclusiveness, and societal attitudes towards marriage and couples of all stripes. Donna Barr's stories have hardly been devoid of social commentary so far, but it seems to me that these stories manage extremely well to blend humor and what I see as a feminist point of view, with a unique weirdness that's never gratuitous.
This collection is available from Lulu.com.


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Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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In the Blink of an Eye #1

Category: erotica, fantasy.
Author(s): HvH.
Year of publication: 2007.


After an impressive collection of illustrations, HvH is back with the first issue of a series of short stories from Class Comics.
Let's be honest: I wasn't expecting more than fun, sexy stories with good art. What I got was, in fact, a trio of stories which are well-written and original, playing with reader's expectations and giving us far more than just guys having sex.
The first one concerns a man who falls in love with someone he hasn't seen, but only sucked through a glory hole; the second one shows a seemingly happy day for a gay couple, while the third gives us a pointed portrait of a man more in love with himself and his perfectly-muscled body (I guess he has limited tastes...) than with anybody else. All three take place in the real world, start with situations which are mostly clichéd by now, but use fantasy elements to full effect, often giving us a real pang, a sign of good writing if there's one.
It is also a pleasure to see that HvH is rather good at storytelling. His pages are dense, his layouts varied and solid, and his use of computer colors and textures add a lot to the atmosphere of his stories. I'm not showing interior art here, but you can see a trailer for the comic on the publisher's site. HvH also has a blog here, with lots of art for various projects.


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Thursday, October 04, 2007
Various news
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The Love book


Author(s): Matt Fagan.


The book coverMatt Fagan's Love strips have been among my favourites since I began reading them, first online, then in the mini-comics he's published. And now, the complete series (192 pages!) have been collected in a book published by Zero Cabinet (and sold on their site right now, before being more widely available), alongside a few new pages. Now, even people who don't feel like buying mini-comics don't have any excuse: get yourself some Love, you'll be grateful.
The author is working on two new stories, so more Jack and Pokie coming up. I couldn't be happier.


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